Tag: David Rundblad

Jonathan Toews

Blackhawks ’15-16 Outlook


Despite the plethora of changes made to their roster this summer, the Chicago Blackhawks should once again be contenders in this season. Immediately following their third Stanley Cup victory in six years, oddsmakers chose Chicago as the favorite to win the cup again.

Chicago’s success this season will depend on how newcomers fair. The Blackhawks lost four key pieces of their team in the offseason with Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Brad Richards all finding new homes.

Salary cap constraints will force the Blackhawks to rely on younger players such as Teuvo Teravainen this season. The 20-year-old appeared in 34 games with the ‘Hawks last season, scoring four goals and nine points.

Artem Anisimov, acquired in the Saad deal, will likely slot in behind Jonathan Toews as the ‘Hawks second line center. Newcomers Ryan Garbutt and Marko Dano will also fill holes in the Blackhawks roster this season.

Rookies Kyle Baun, Ryan Hartman and Artemi Panarin could also challenge for roster spots.

“I think change is good, and I think we’ve embraced that in the past and been able to bring in some players that now are household names … but at one point they were new,” GM Stan Bowman told NHL.com. “It’s going to be the same thing for some of the new guys that are part of this group next year. They might be new to the fans and media, but as you’ll see in time, I think we’re really going to fall in love with some of these guys.”

Chicago will also have new regulars on the blue line with the likes of Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Rundblad vying for roster spots behind Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor Daley. Erik Gustafsson and Ville Pokka will also battle for spots on the back end.

In goal, Corey Crawford is the clear cut No. 1 while Scott Darling beat out Antti Raanta for the backup role. Raanta was dealt to the New York Rangers during the offseason.

One wild card for the Blackhawks is, of course, Patrick Kane. The 26-year-old is currently the subject of a police investigation. Kane would’ve challenged for the scoring title last season, if a shoulder injury hadn’t forced him to miss the final 21 games of the regular season.

Chicago will once again be a threat in the Western Conference, but how deep they go will depend on how well the newcomers fit.

‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’

Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya is still waiting for the Blackhawks to clear enough cap space to re-sign him, according to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

But the ‘Hawks may have to clear it soon, because Oduya won’t wait forever.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reported on July 1 that the 33-year-old defenseman was “sitting on a very good offer.”

Presumably that “very good offer” wasn’t from Chicago; otherwise, he would’ve signed it.

“We would like to try to bring him back,” GM Stan Bowman said of Oduya, per CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers. “We have financial hurdles we’re working through.”

Even though the Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad, they added Artem Anisimov’s $3.3 million cap hit for next season, and they still haven’t dealt Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, or any of the other players rumored to be out the door.

The ‘Hawks have five NHL defenseman under contract for 2015-16 — Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, David Rundblad, and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

If they can’t re-sign Oduya, they could either look elsewhere for a cheaper free agent, or commit to giving roster spots to youngsters like Stephen Johns and Ville Pokka.

Related: UFA of the Day: Johnny Oduya

Report: Blackhawks sign Rundblad to a two-year, $2 million extension

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

While it appears Johnny Oduya will sign elsewhere come July 1, the Chicago Blackhawks did add a body to its blue line for the 2015-16 season on Monday inking restricted free agent defenseman David Rundblad to a two-year contract extension.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Rundblad’s deal has a $1 million annual average value. The deal gives Rundblad a $130,000 raise on his 2014-15 salary.

The 24-year-old’s two-year $1.57 million dollar deal was set to expire on Wednesday.

Rundblad appeared in 49 regular season games with the Blackhawks in 2014-15 scoring three goals and 11 assists to go along with a plus-17 rating while averaging 12:48 in time on ice.

Originally a first round pick (17th overall) of the St. Louis Blues in 2009, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound blue liner also appeared in five playoff games for the ‘Hawks registering a plus-2 rating while averaging 7:29 in ice time a night.

Per Generalfanager.com, the Blackhawks now have four defenseman under contract for the 2015-16 NHL season with a little over $7 million in cap space to work with.

Related: UFA of the Day: Antoine Vermette

Timonen to make series debut tonight for ‘Hawks

Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers

CHICAGO — Kimmo Timonen will play for the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“He gives us some predictability,” head coach Joel Quennville said of Timonen on Wednesday, confirming the veteran d-man would play tonight. “I think his coverage in the D zone, strength in the puck area. He’s smart, experienced.

“I think he did a good job for us throughout the playoffs. Gives him a chance to get in here in an good moment, a big moment. His reads and his position awareness and coverage in his own end will help him.”

So we know Timonen’s in, but the rest is uncertain. There’s been no firm update on the health of Johnny Oduya, who was injured during Game 3 and played just 9:10 over the final two periods.

If Oduya plays (and per Quenneville, it sounds like he will), it’s probable that Kyle Cumiskey — who, like Timonen, is a left-handed shot — will be the odd man out on defense. Cumiskey took some serious heat for losing Cedric Paquette on the game-deciding goal in Game 3, and finished with just 7:38 TOI.

Should things play out this way, Trevor van Riemsdyk would stay in on defense over David Rundblad for the second straight game.

As for the 40-year-old Timonen, he’s set to make his series debut and will play for the first time since Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Ducks — which was 16 days ago. That contest, a 5-4 Anaheim win in overtime, was one of Timonen’s roughest outings in what’s been a forgettable playoff; the veteran Finn was minus-2 in just 8:06 of ice time, and received just three shifts in the third period and OT.

“Coaches make the decisions, they put the best lineup on the ice and that’s it,” Timonen explained. “I’m just the one piece of the team here.

“I decided I’m going to work hard at the practice and stay positive and make sure if that chance comes I’m ready to go, and it looks like it’s here.

Quenneville believes Oduya will be ‘all right’ for Game 4

Johnny Oduya

CHICAGO — Sounds like Chicago’s blueline won’t be even further thinned out at the Stanley Cup Final.

The day after a 3-2 defeat to Tampa Bay in Game 3, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said that injured defenseman Johnny Oduya — who played just 9:10 over the final two periods last night — looked to be OK and could be ready to go for Wednesday’s Game 4.

“I think he’ll be all right,” Quenneville said on Tuesday. “He looked all right today. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

The ‘Hawks can ill-afford to lose Oduya’s services. He’s averaging over 24 minutes a night as one of Chicago’s much talked-about top-four defensemen and, if he’s out, the club would suddenly then have to promote one of Kyle Cumiskey, Trevor van Riemsdyk, David Rundblad or Kimmo Timonen into a more prominent role — which could prove problematic given all four have their, ahem, limitations.

Not much is known on the severity of Oduya’s injury. It’s of the upper-body variety, and was believed to have occurred on a second-period hit from Tampa Bay forward Ondrej Palat.